Muslim Rep. Ellison on the Pope
Speaking this week as Pope Benedict XVI visited the U.S., Congress' first Muslim lawmaker, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), declined to criticize the pontiff for his past comments about Islam and suggested that the continued "age-old exchange of ideas" between Catholics and Muslims was "a good thing."
Speaking to Sally Quinn as part of washingtonpost.com's "On Faith" feature, Ellison was diplomatic in responding to a question about Benedict's controversial 2006 citation of a quote that the prophet Muhammed brought "evil and inhuman" practices to life.
"I believe that the Pope is entitled to his opinion," Ellison said. "I will also say that the Pope has made some statements to try to remediate those comments."
Ellison, a Catholic before he converted to Islam, did say that he believed Benedict "definitely comes from a more conservative view of the role of the church ... and I think that those earlier comments reflected that. Pope John Paul [II] might not have said those kinds of things."
You can watch an excerpt of Ellison's interview below, and video of the full interview will be available online May 1:
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